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Dr. Bernard Kouchner and MSF: A Clarification
Paris, May 22, 2007 — A few days after Doctor Bernard Kouchner's appointment as France's minister of foreign affairs, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) notes a potential confusion between his new responsibilities and the role he has played in humanitarian organizations such as MSF. The mixing of politics and humanitarian action is fundamentally prejudicial to our activities and to the deployment of impartial and independent assistance on the field. In such contexts as conflicts, it may be particularly dangerous.
This is why we consider it fundamental to clarify the relations between Dr. Kouchner and MSF, and to reassert our independence towards the French authorities and any other political power. Here some useful historical facts:
Improperly perceived as being involved in the foreign policy of the French government, MSF activities might be seriously endangered, namely in conflicts where the French Army is currently involved, for example in the Central African Republic and Chad. It is everyone's responsibility today–especially Dr. Kouchner's–not to liken MSF activities to those undertaken by any government or any government representatives. MSF's action has only one goal: to help people in danger, without discrimination.
For more information, please see the interview with MSF France President, Dr Jean-Hervé Bradol: "Humanitarian action and political action: don't confuse the two."
Tags: Humanitarian Issues